There are countless bands that seem to sit on the fringes of stardom every year. Who might be the next big thing of 2013? Take a look into our music crystal ball as we look into the future of music.
The solo project of Matt Mondanile deals only partly with the love of jangle-pop that emanates from his role of guitarist in indie-rock group Real Estate. Ducktails’ new album, The Flower Lane, is already one of 2013’s best because it expands upon the singer/songwriter’s penchant for guitar-driven hazy pop. Ducktails’ sound is serene for the most part, especially on opener “Ivy Covered House” and its illuminated guitar jangles. But take a track like “Timothy Shy”, with squealing guitar solos and bouncy keyboards, or the icy synth-pop of “Letters of Intent” and listeners are presented a wonderfully diverse rock album steeped in shoegaze and prog-rock influences. Don’t be surprised to see a following grow substantially for both Ducktails and Real Estate this year, propelled by the superb The Flower Lane.
Based out of Los Angeles, rocking quintet Local Natives produce a varied approach that sounds like a best-of for indie-rock groups this past decade. Comparisons on their new album Hummingbird stretch everywhere from the bubbly electro-pop experimentation of Animal Collective to the ghostly folk murmurs of Grizzly Bear, meeting somewhere at a place of feel-good rock with emotional heights fitting for both arenas and coffee shops. The gloriously upbeat “Heavy Feet” is aided by stirring guitar licks and clapping, which are enveloped by a trickling chorus using repetition to seemingly encourage a sing-along. With the amount of quality on Hummingbird, it will be hard for listeners to resist the urge to dance or sing along. This is the reason why 2013 looks to be a big year for Local Natives.
The Leisure Society
The Leisure Society’s past few albums dealt primarily with perkily upbeat acoustic tunes, aided on beautifully romantic efforts like “Love’s Enormous Wings” by a delicate ukulele. With their upcoming album Alone Aboard the Ark, the British group seem to be expanding into darker and more ambitious echelons of folk. The album’s first revealed track, “The Sober Scent of Paper”, shows hushed acoustic progressions and sporadic woodwinds as vocalist Nick Hemming projects brooding harmonizing reminiscent of Paul Simon. That’s a lofty comparison for a group still relatively underground, but by all indications Alone Aboard the Ark will be an album that begins a stream of high-profile comparisons for this talented band.
A hybrid of Field Music’s jumpy string-laden art-rock and Hot Chip’s danceable rhythms, Dutch Uncles combine exciting orchestral flourishes with swirling synth arpeggios and tropical marimbas. Dutch Uncle’s singing to Memphis Industries, home to the likes of El Perro Del Mar and Tokyo Police Club, was a no-brainer thanks to the band’s instant accessibility, another reason for their likely success and possible mainstream entry this year. Dutch Uncles’ new album, Out of Touch in the Wild, is spearheaded by tracks like “Bellio”, which expands from angular guitar bursts to glittering synth explosions with a dance-pop meatiness. Alexis Taylor sings a feisty falsetto that adds even more to the track’s uniqueness. Don’t be surprised if Dutch Uncles see exposure similar to Hot Chip in the near future. Their sound is certainly as exciting.
The dreamy lo-fi rock of Beach Fossils is somewhat representative of Brooklyn’s current music scene, which is producing quality DIY rock at a rapid pace. Yet rather than the aggressive approaches rampant in many other rock scenes, Beach Fossils and many others in the Brooklyn sphere produce retrospective songs with twinkling melodies and a vintage feel. Beach Fossils simply happen to be one of the borough’s best in some time. Epic post-rockers like Spiritualized come to mind when considering the band’s patience and correlated ability to turn numbing guitar-led repetition into beautiful advancements. The guitars range from hypnotic slow-burners to excitable virtuosity, keeping listeners on their toes as they traverse through their sprawling guitar-pop album Clash the Truth, which is out in February.
The Besnard Lakes
The Besnard Lakes are led by a husband-wife team from Montreal specializing in a vein of post-rock that uses components of shoegaze and prog-rock. Their previous two albums, 2007’s The Besnard Lakes Are the Dark Horse and 2010’s The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, both received glowing acclaim, and were nominated for the Polaris Music Prize in their respective years of release. Consecutive nominations really show what the press thinks of this four-piece, who return in 2013 with Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO. Based on their past successes, there’s little reason to doubt the quality of The Besnard Lakes’ upcoming album, which will deal with the same rock-driven intricacies and beautiful harmonies of past successes. The big question is whether or not more people will take notice. To the critics and fans, it seems imminent that it will happen at some point. 2013 seems like a great time.